Sunday, August 22, 2010

Putting Running in Perspective

Running hasn't been going very well for me lately.  Bad races, bad training.  Today I felt like a real runner again.  I ran 10 miles this morning on my local trails...and I ran fairly hard.  Nothing super fast, but much quicker than my normal ultra shuffle.  It felt nice knocking off miles by myself at a good pace. Sweat poured off my face, morning dew soaked my shoes and socks, and my heart pumped hard as I ran up the hills...this was good stuff!  I was back.  Running felt good again.

My iPod is set to random shuffle and it always surprises me how a song can come on and make me think about my current running, or work, or family.  It's been a rough month with lots of changes, a couple of running failures, one surprising promotion at work, and the death of my mother. My mom's death helped put my running in perspective.  Races are just where you can challenge yourself...sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.  Neither outcome really changes your life.  It's just running. 

Anyway, this Kid Rock song seemed to summarize my feelings on the run today as I thought back over the last few weeks (only last section of song quoted here):

...People don't know about the things I say and do
They don't understand about the shit that I've been through
It's been so long since I've been home
I've been gone, I've been gone for way too long
Maybe I forgot all things I miss
Oh somehow I know there's more to life than this
I said it too many times
And I still stand firm
You get what you put in
And people get what they deserve
Still I ain't seen mine
No I ain't seen mine
I've been giving just ain't been gettin
I've been walking that there line
So I think I'll keep a walking
With my head held high
I'll keep moving on and only God knows why.

[Kid Rock, "Only God Knows Why" from Devil Without a Cause]

I plan on staying closer to home for a while.  I'll keep running and walking, and those miles will eventually lead to a good race result... but I'm staying closer to home.  No long weekend road trips to trail ultras, no crazy trips to Canada, no hiking the Appalachian Trail.  I'm lucky to live near a nice 5-mile trail.  I'm blessed to be in a state that has a lot of great ultra races.  I know people can get down on the Midwest, but it's more than "fly-over" country.  We have plenty of excellent ultra runners with lots of race choices. Here are a few ultramarathons in Illinois:

Riddle Run 28 miler
Windburn Six in the Stix 6-Hour
McNabb 50K Fat Ass
Lake Mingo Fat Ass 28 miler
Clinton Lake 30 Miler
McNaughton Park 50 & 100 Miler
Des Plaines River Trail 50
CRUD 8-Hour
Sunburn Six in the Stix 6-Hour
Howl at the Moon 8-Hour
Rock Cut Hobo 50K
Farmdale Trail 30 & 50 Miler
Chicago Lakefront 50K/50M
McNotAgain 30 Miler

Not a bad collection of races for one land-locked state in the middle of the country!  You could have a nice year of ultra racing and never leave the state.  Hmmm...that may be my plan for 2011.  Hang in there fellow Illinois ultra runners.  We have miles and miles of excellent trails for training and quite a few ultras.  Hope to see you at one of them in the near future.  Whatever you do, keep running in the proper perspective.


Ian said...

How about Des Plaines River Trail 50 mile (and marathon). Zach G blazed that one. He ran 50 miles faaster than I did the marathon. But I like your story and the meaning off it.

Chris said...

Damn, forgot that race. I'll add it now. Thanks.

saucony running shoes said...

Wow very inspirational post. I like it. Nice one!!!

Anonymous said...

sounds like someone is getting ready for Farmdale!!

You did me a great thought though, do we dare run every ultra in Il for 2011?

Looking forward to seeing you soon Chris.


Chris said...

I do like that darn Farmdale race. If not running, I'll hang out and volunteer. But I've _run_ every single race so far...why break that streak! Wonder how many people have done every year of the race?

Anonymous said...

Damn straight!!

Even though you are adding to our workload I will take a look and see.

Perhaps a special award to those when they hit 10 straight??

Love to see you there either way.